New Zealand Coastal Shipping  


First registered on 3 December 1926, the Company had it's beginnings much earlier when the founder, Captain Ferdinand Holm - born in Arboga, Sweden in 1844 - bought the steamer John (339grt) in 1911. Early ships to carry the green funnel were mainly small companies of one ship each, usually partly owned by Captain Ferdinand and his sons. One of these sons, Captain Sydney Holm, co-foundered with a number of Dunedin businessmen, the Dunedin-Wanganui Shipping Company in 1921, for which a 681grt ship, the Kylebeg, was purchased by Captain Holm. On her arrival in New Zealand in early 1922, she was renamed Holmdale.

In 1926, all the ships were combined together and the first official Holm Shipping Company was formed. Thereafter all ships built for or purchased by the Company were given a Holm prefix to their names. In its lifetime, the Company owned three ships named Holmwood, three named Holmlea, two named Holmburn, two Holmdale, two Holmglen and one each Holmbank, Holmbrae and Holmpark. The Union Steam Ship Company (bless them) first gained a controlling financial interest in the Company during the Depression of the 1930's.

Holmwood (III)
Photo: I. Lovie

In later years, the Company became regular customers of the Dutch shipyard N.V. Bodewes Scheepswerven of Martenshoek, which built Holmwood (III) in 1952, Holmglen (II) in 1955, Holmburn (II) in 1957 and Holmdale (II) in 1961.

1959 was without doubt the Company's "blackest" year. On 7 May, the Holmburn caught fire while berthed at Lyttelton and the master Captain Derek Crabtree, along with the Chief Steward Mr. A.J. Hempstalk both lost their lives. The accommodation areas were almost completely burnt out and repairs took several months.

On 24 November 1959, the Holmglen was lost 25 miles off Timaru with the loss of her crew of 15. Captain John Holm (who was by this time managing director) was reported as saying in Wellington's Evening Post newspaper of 25 November: "It is a complete mystery. Holmglen was the strongest built and best equipped ship in New Zealand. Of all the ships that could possibly have come to this end I would pick the Holmglen as the least likely." The year was further clouded by the sudden death on 30 August of Captain Sydney Holm.

Holmglen (II)

The 1960's were a trying decade for all of the coastal shipping companies but Holm's seemed to fare a little better than others. In May 1965, they extended their services to the Pacific Islands when Holmburn sailed from Onehunga to Norfolk Island and Noumea. In later years, Brisbane was added to this itinerary. In 1968, the Holmdale was despatched to Rarotonga to help fill the gaps left by the withdrawal of the Union Company's trans-Pacific cargo ships. Further expansion came in January 1969, when Holm's chartered the refrigerated ship Pagensand (1966/1733grt) from German owners, which was used in trades to Rarotonga and Papeete. She was replaced by her sister ship Luhesand a year later.

On the coast, the Company had converted their Holmpark into a container ship in early 1967. These were not the containers that we know today, but the principal was the same. She operated a regular weekly service from Onehunga to Lyttelton and maintained complete regularity of service for 15 months. The introduction of Union's Hawea and Northern's Seaway Princess (both RO/RO ships) saw her withdrawn from service at the end of May 1968. A couple of months later, Holmpark was chartered for use as a depot ship for the salvage of the Wahine.

Photo: I. Lovie

All this aside, technology was taking over from the conventional - style coaster. In 1962, New Zealand Railways introduced the roll-on/roll-off Rail ferry Aramoana into the Wellington - Picton service. This was a revolutionary move for New Zealand and for the first time, shippers could send their goods from one end of NZ to the other without the need for their goods to be transhipped in any way. The service exceeded all expectations and it was not long before another ship was ordered, the Aranui which came into service in 1966. This was not good news for the already struggling coastal shipping companies as more and more freight went the Railway's way.

The Union Steam Ship Company had a substantial financial interest in three of the largest companies and in a last ditch attempt to save coastal shipping, their manager F.K. Macfarlane recommended that Richardsons and Canterbury Steam bare-boat charter their ships to the Holm Shipping Company. Although they would still own their ships, Richardsons and Canterbury Steam would cease to be operating companies. At the time, Richardsons owned three ships, Parera (1957/823grt), Pateke (1954/785grt) and Pukeko (1961/1020grt). Canterbury also had three, Calm (1950/787grt), Squall (1956/817grt) and Storm (1961/931grt). Holm Shipping had four ships, Holmburn (1957/845grt), Holmdale (1961/911grt), Holmpark (1953/588grt), under charter to United Salvage Ltd., and Holmwood (1952/797grt). They had one further ship Pagensand (1966/1733grt)which was under charter from German owners and operating a service from Auckland to the Pacific Islands.

And so, on the morning of 1 October 1969, six additional ships hoisted the flag of the Holm Shipping Company.

Holm's then devoted a lot of time and effort into re-organising the services previously operated by the three different companies. As the ships themselves came up for their annual surveys, they were repainted in Holm colours - light grey hull and leaf green funnel with black top.

Holmburn (II) in the Lyttelton drydock, late 1960's
Photo: © S. Reed

The end result saw some of the ships trading to ports never envisaged by their original owners. For example, Onehunga became a regular port of call for the former Richardson ships, a port that company would dearly have loved to trade to, but always thwarted by Union Company management.

The following is a list of all ships and the services they operated on following the re-shuffle. Please note that the days quoted were indicative only of what it was possible to achieve.

CALM (1950/787grt)

Auckland: Fri - Sat
Napier: Mon
Gisborne: Tues - Wed
Auckland: Fri - Sat

SQUALL (1956/817grt)

Gisborne: Mon - Tues
Napier: Wed
Lyttelton: Fri - Sat
Gisborne: Mon - Tues

STORM (1961/931grt)

Wanganui: Sun - Tues
Dunedin: Fri - Sat
Oamaru: Sun - Mon
Timaru: Tues - Wed
Lyttelton: Thur - Fri
Wanganui: Sun - Tues

PARERA (1957/823grt)

Gisborne: Sun - Tues
Napier: Wed - Thur
Dunedin: Sat - Tues
Oamaru: Wed
Timaru: Thur - Fri
Gisborne: Sun - Tues

PATEKE (1954/785grt)

Onehunga: Wed - Fri
Lyttelton: Sun - Wed
New Plymouth: Fri - Mon
Raglan: Tues
Onehunga: Wed - Fri

PUKEKO (1961/1020grt)

Onehunga: Mon - Thur
Bluff: Sun - Tues
Dunedin: Wed
Oamaru: Thur
Timaru: Thur
Lyttelton: Fri - Sat
Onehunga: Mon - Thur

HOLMBURN (1957/845grt)

Tauranga: Sat - Mon
Auckland: Tues - Wed
Noumea: Sun - Tues
Tauranga: Sat - Mon

HOLMDALE (1961/911grt)

Working Chatham Islands as required, with approximately
a three-weekly turn-round. In addition to Waitangi, one
or more (as required by demand) of the outports will be
worked every trip.

HOLMPARK (1953/600grt)

On charter to United Salvage Pty.Ltd., Melbourne, as Depot Ship for salvage of T.E.V.Wahine.

HOLMWOOD (1952/797grt)

Tauranga: Tues - Wed
Auckland: (opt) Thur - Fri
Bluff: Tues - Wed
Lyttelton: Fri - Sat
Tauranga: Tues -Wed
Auckland: (opt) Thur - Fri
Dunedin: Tues - Wed
Oamaru: Thur
Timaru: Fri
Tauranga: Tues - Wed

In addition to those mentioned above, Holm's also operated the Pagensand from Auckland to Rarotonga and Papeete, and the Seaway Princess (1967/1053grt) (later renamed Holmlea and placed on the Wellington-Lyttelton run) on a weekly roll-on/roll/off service between Auckland and Lyttelton.

Despite Holm's best intentions, the ships were just unable to compete with the Rail ferries and one by one they were withdrawn. First to go was the Calm which laid up in Nelson on 8 July 1971. She was sold in October to Hai Lee Shipping & Trading Co. Ltd., of Singapore and renamed Selamat Datang.

In December 1971, both Holmwood and Squall were laid up in Nelson and shortly thereafter placed on the sale market. Holmwood went first, sold to King Line S.A. of Panama and sailed on 31 October 1972 for Singapore. Squall hung on longer, finally being sold to the same Company in 1973, being renamed King Tiger.

Squall at Napier
Photo: I. Lovie

Early in 1972, the Union Steam Ship Co announced further changes. Ownership of all the remaining coastal ships was to be placed under the Holm Shipping Company, with management of the ships passing to the Union Company effective 1 March 1972.

Next to go was the Pateke, laying up in Nelson at the end of March 1972. She was sold to Pacific International Line (Private) Ltd., of Singapore on 16 May 1972. Sailing on the 23 May, she did not leave the coast without drama. Still named Pateke, on the 28-29 May whilst sheltering off Dog Island (Foveaux Strait) she lost both anchors and requested the assistance of the Southland Harbour Board tug Hauroko which turned the ship around and towed her as far as Waipapa Point where she got underway under her own power. She sailed to Dunedin to take on new anchors and cables. Finally on 26 June 1972, she left New Zealand waters, sailing from Lyttelton with a cargo of bonemeal and potatoes. She was later renamed Kota Gembira.

The remaining ships limped along, chasing cargoes wherever they could, even as far afield as Australia and the Pacific Islands. By 1973, Storm was the only one regularly carrying conventional cargoes on the coast. Parera and Pukeko were trading from Onehunga to Fiji, Holmburn was also trading to the Pacific, Holmdale was looking after the Chathams with the occasional coastal voyage and excursions into the Pacific, but the ships were living on borrowed time being totally outmoded by more modern forms of goods transit.

In April 1974, the Pukeko was placed in the Nelson - Onehunga trade under Anchor-Dorman management replacing their Puriri. This was another paper transfer as Union also owned Anchor-Dorman. This trade was really the last one on the New Zealand coast which could support a vessel of the conventional type.

Pukeko at Wellington
Photo: I. Lovie

The Storm was laid up in Dunedin on 16 Dec 1974, and the Parera laid up in Auckland on the 31 Dec 1974. Holmburn wasn't much further behind, laying up in Auckland in March 1975. Pukeko lasted until June laying up in Nelson on the 28 June 1975, being replaced by Anchor's Totara on the Nelson - Onehunga trade. Holmdale was under charter to the Department of Internal Affairs for her service to the Chathams, but her story is the subject of another page on this site.

Crossworld Navigation & Brokerage Co. (Hong Kong) Ltd., of Singapore bought both the Storm and Pukeko in June (the former) and August (the latter). Respectively they were renamed Surabaya Fortune and Sirdhana Fortune. Guan Guan Shipping Ltd., of Singapore bought the Holmburn and renamed her Golden Summer.

The Companies themselves became just paper companies until eventually the Union Steam Ship Company wound them up. Coastal shipping in New Zealand in its traditional, conventional form had died and hardly anybody had noticed............

Holmburn on her trials. Note port of registry!
Photo courtesy of L.M. Johannes

Where Did They Go?


787grt. 203' 6" x 31' 6" x 13' 3"
Built 1950 by Scott & Sons, Bowling, Glasgow, for Canterbury Steam Shipping Co., Lyttelton.

  • 4 Oct 1971: Sold to Hai Lee Shipping and Trading Co.Ltd., Singapore and renamed Selamat Datang
  • 1982: Sold to Tanjong Maritime Co.Ltd., Bangkok and renamed Tanjong Mas
  • 1984: Sold to See Hai Shipping & Trading Co.Ltd., renamed See Hai Hong
  • 1989: Renamed Hadyai Union
  • 1990: Renamed Angkor 2
  • 3 July 1990: Sprang a leak and sank in South China Sea near Paracel Island. Crew of 14 rescued by the P&O container ship Peninsular Bay

    817grt. 203' 7" x 33' 2" x 13' 0"
    Built 1956 by James Lamont & Co. Ltd., Port Glasgow, for Canterbury Steam Shipping Co., Lyttelton.

  • Dec 1971: Laid up at Nelson and placed on the sale market shortly thereafter
  • 1973: Sold to King Line S.A., Panama (Guan Guan Shipping, Singapore, Mgrs) renamed King Tiger
  • 16 Feb 1973: Handed over and renamed
  • 20 Feb 1973: Sailed from Nelson for Singapore via Cairns
  • 1974: Ownership transferred to Guan Guan Shipping (Pte) Ltd., Singapore, same name
  • 1984: Renamed Golden Summer, same owners
  • 1 Aug 1984: Sold to White Shipping & Trading Pte.Ltd., Singapore and broken up in Singapore late that year

    931grt. 214' 10" x 33' 1" x 14' 11"
    Built 1961 by Scott & Sons, Bowling, Glasgow, for Canterbury Steam Shipping Co., Lyttelton.

  • 16 June 1975: Sold to Crossworld Management & Brokerage (H.K.) Ltd., Hong Kong and renamed Surabaya Fortune
  • 1977: Sold to Pacific International Lines Pte. Ltd., Singapore and renamed Kota Perwira
  • 1984: Sold to Sabah South East Asia Investment Corp., Panama. Same name but with Panama registry
  • 1984: Sold to Thai Boon Roong Trading (S) Pte. Ltd., Singapore, same name
  • 23 Jun 1986: Arrested at Madras for smuggling gold bars and other contraband
  • Nov 1986: Sold by auction to John Fidel, Madras
  • 1 Sep 1987: Sprang a leak and partially sank in Madras outer harbour. Effectively a consructive total loss
  • May 1988: Sold to Indian shipbreakers

    823grt. 208' 9" x 36' 11" x 13' 0"
    Built 1957 by G. Brown & Co., Greenock, for Richardson & Co., Napier.

  • 4 Apr 1975: Sold to King Line S.A., Panama, (Guan Guan Shipping (PTE.) Ltd., Singapore, Mgrs) and renamed King Lake
  • 1975: Ownership transferred to Guan Guan Shipping (Pte.) Ltd., Singapore. Same name and Singapore registry
  • 1985: Sold to Nan Wah Enterprise S.A., Panama and renamed Kin Lake with Panama registry
  • 12 Apr 1985: Ran aground at Tankan Shan, 12 miles south of Hong Kong and wrecked

    785grt. 235' 6" x 33' 10" x 12' 8"
    Built 1954 by J. Bodewes Scheepswerf, Hoogezand, Netherlands, for Richardson & Co., Napier.

  • 1 May 1972: Sold to Pacific International Lines (Pte) Ltd., Singapore and renamed Kota Gembira
  • 1978: Sold to Malaysian Shipping Corporation Sdn, Bhd., Kuala Lumpur, (Pacific International Lines, Singapore, Mgrs) renamed Kota Intan
  • 1982: Sold to Syrikat Perkapalan Pacific Utara Sdn, Bhd., Penang,(Uni-Ocean Lines Pte. Ltd., Singapore, Mgrs) renamed Gembira II
  • 9 Mar 1983: Arrived at Bangkok from Kota Kinabalu and laid up due to persistent machinery breakdowns. Later sold for breaking up in Thailand

    1,020grt. 229' 7" x 38' 2" x 13' 4"
    Built 1961 by James Lamont & Co., Port Glasgow, for Richardson & Co., Napier.

  • 14 Aug 1975: Sold to Crossworld Management & Brokerage (H.K.) Ltd., Hong Kong and renamed Sirdhana Fortune
  • 25 Jul 1977: Engine room fire while lying off Jeddah, Red Sea. Badly damaged and towed to Piraeus for repairs
  • 1982: Sold to Asia Marine Services Co. WLL, Kuwait (Almouaket Shipping & Trading Co. WLL, Kuwait, Mgrs) and renamed Almoussa
  • 1986: Ownership transferred to Almouaket Shipping & Trading Co. WLL, Kuwait
  • 1987: Sold to Delta Maritime Co. S.A.E., Cairo, renamed Almoussa D
  • 17 Oct 1988: Caught fire off Mokha, Yemen and abandoned drifting on 18 October. Sank north-west of Zubair Island, Red Sea, 20 October 1988

    845grt. 240' 6" x 34' 7" x 12' 10"
    Built 1957 by N.V. Bodewes Scheepswerven, Martenshoek, Netherlands, for Holm Shipping Co., Wellington.

  • 1975: Sold to Guan Guan Shipping (Pte.) Ltd., Singapore and renamed Golden Summer
  • 1983: Sold to National Shipbreakers Pte. Ltd., Singapore and arrived Jurong for demolition 20 December 1983

    911grt. 218' 1" x 34' 9" x 13' 7"
    Built 1961 by N.V. Bodewes Scheepswerven, Martenshoek, Netherlands, for Holm Shipping Co., Wellington.

  • 1991: Sold to Celtic Pacific Shipping Ltd., Avatiu, Cook Islands and renamed Celtic Kiwi
  • 27 Oct 1991: Suffered a major rupture of the hull and abandoned in listing condition on passage Auckland to Norfolk Island. Subsequently sank about 180 miles NNW of North Cape, New Zealand. Crew rescued by yacht Rock Steady and landed at Opua

    1,053grt. 266' 6" x 43' 1" x 10' 0"
    Built 1967 by Hong Kong & Whampoa Dock Co. Ltd., Hong Kong, for Noerthern S.S. Co., Auckland, as Seaway Princess. Sold to Holm Shipping Co late in 1969, renamed Holmlea.

  • 1975: Sold to A.M.A.L. S.p.A., Messina and renamed Annarita Seconda
  • 1978: Renamed Gabbiano, same owners
  • 1983: Sold to Mediterranea Marittima S.p.A. di Nav., Genoa, (Soc. Co-operative di Nav. Garibaldi S.R.L., Genoa, Mgrs) same name
  • 2 Nov 1989: Demolition began at San Giorgio di Nogaro, Italy , by Italian shipbreakers Eurofer S.p.A.

    588grt. 209' 0" x 32' 2" x 12' 2"
    Built 1953 by G. Renk Jnr. K.G., Hamburg, Germany, for Compagnie Generale Transatlantique, France, as Commandant Milliasseau. Sold to Holm Shipping Co. in 1965, renamed Holmpark.

  • 1972: Sold to United Salvage Pty. Ltd., Melbourne, same name. (She had been under charter to them since 1968)
  • 1974: Sold to Hiap Seng Shipping & Trading Co. (Pte.) Ltd., Singapore, renamed Holmni, Singapore registry
  • 1979: Sold to Raebin Mas Shipping S.A., Bangkok, renamed Good Year, Thailand registry
  • 1987: Sold to Soo Hai Fong Shipping, Songkla, renamed Hadyai Union I, Thailand registry
  • 2 Feb 1988: Arrived at Port Moresby, later declared unseaworthy and abandoned by her owners.
  • 21 Nov 1988: Scuttled by port authority 4.5 miles south of Basalisk Passage off Port Moresby

    797grt. 208' 0" x 32' 2" x 13' 3"
    Built 1953 by N.V. Bodewes Scheepswerven, Martenshoek, Netherlands, for Holm Shipping Co., Wellington.

  • Dec 1971: Laid up for sale at Nelson
  • 1972: Sold to King Line S.A., Panama (Guan Guan Shipping (Pte.) Ltd., Singapore, Mgrs)and renamed King Fish, Panama registry
  • 31 Oct 1972: Sailed from Nelson for Singapore. Intended for trade between Singapore and Indonesia
  • 1975: Ownership transferred to Guan Guan Shipping (Pte.) Ltd. Same name, but Singapore registry
  • 1984: Sold to Pioneer Shipping Co., Male, (Seaward Shipping & Trading Co. (S) Pte. Ltd., Male, Mgrs) and renamed Pioneer Elite, Maldive Islands registry
  • 23 Jul 1985: Demolition commenced at Gadani Beach by Molasses Trading & Export Co., Pakistan

  • Holmwood at Timaru
    Photo: S. Reed

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